does our society allege itself to be a moral model for the rest of the
world -- decent, democratic, welcoming all races, religions, all who are
needy, the scourge of dictators and protector of the needy -- while
sexualizing its own children (as well as adults) by using the cruelest
possible corporate marketing convenience: the threat of social rejection
if one isn't perceived as sexually enticing, meaning acceptable? Who,
once exposed, could not, would not internalize this perversity,
particularly a vulnerable and rejected child? And if that child is
convinced that she is both slut and reject, how will she behave when the
opportunity to be sexual presents itself, and how will others behave
toward her, recognizing her weakness?
know, now. And I hope someday I can forgive myself. A mistake is not a
sin, and I had no intentions of hurting or using anyone. And the
therapeutic abortion and tubal ligation were ethically and medically
correct, given the impossible conditions of my pregnancy, some of which
were created by my own choices of desperation.
I met and experienced mutual love and the deepest intellectual and
emotional understanding with Silas, whom I married in 1996 after a ten
month engagement, I was desperate for more than what I found and helped
create in my marriage. I was trapped in poverty which, as a mentally
disabled person, I could not break even with years of effort. And I ran
to many cruel places, including some claiming they were safe, healthy,
spiritual. In Alanon, Overeaters Anonymous, Sex and Love Addicts
Anonymous, in allegedly progressive political groups, the often dominant
relationship pattern was the demonstration of personal "power" via
emotional and verbal abuse, including derogatory ideological measurement
of "weaker" persons by some self-appointed authority who "knew" they
were right. Always. In the self-help groups, they claimed to be "keeping
order" in a meeting or practicing "tough love" -- justifications
reminiscent of my father's claiming his medical status justified incest.
escape people like my father I ran to people like my father. As an
adult. Men with violent backgrounds I met when riding my own motorcycle
in communities of bikers who, like me, had often been incarcerated, for I
equated my mental hospital/"sick" school incarceration (my family had
me incarcerated after the final molest at age 15) with San Quentin and
Angola, just as I equated with my own pathetic adolescent efforts at
self-defense with adult criminal violence. Men who, in my anger, I
wanted to be like, and imitated to the point of wearing black leather
and knives and using obscene language and riding my motorcycle to the
meetings where I had been hurt by people who had the verbal quickness to
wound souls, having learned, apparently, little else from their
did the men with whom I acted irresponsibly, particularly in 1989 when
my then-"boyfriend" insisted coitus interruptus would work and I felt
too afraid while naked to put my clothes back on and say no to the
entire experience. I remember folding into depression, my usual response
to feeling overwhelmed. Since I was an adult and present, am I not
responsible for the consequences of my actions, which included a
pregnancy? What if I were only a physical adult and psychologically a
cowering sexual abuse victim, a paralyzed child?
I still don't know the precise dimensions of my responsibility, given my internal weakness and terror.
I recognized then as now my responsibility for change, for seeing that
nothing like this series of mistakes and misjudgements and misplacements
of trust could ever happen again. I took those steps with the abortion
and tubal ligation and 1989, and continued a psychological and physical
struggle against self-destruction which has been extraordinarily
1995, I became engaged to Silas. Our marriage was loving and positive,
continually filled with challenges of all kind met together, and lasted
until Silas' death of kidney failure in 2004.
beloved husband has been dead for eight months now, and when people ask
if we had any children, the answer "no" still seems a tragic one. Early
in our marriage, Silas and I confronted with great sadness the fact
that I could never become pregnant, and we researched adoption in every
possible sphere, from international adoption to domestic agencies to our
began dreaming about a child named Gracie with long dark hair like
mine, and buttery skin. He was not a fantasist. I had dreamed of
parenthood since age 23, having become very close to a New York
professional family I identified with and remain close to today.
We did research. We didn't surf the Internet; we dove into it like Jacques Cousteau. We subscribed to newsletters.
we learned that international adoption was unaffordable for us; that
domestic adoption through our county was such a stressful process that
provably loving and capable parents were put through bureaucratic
frustrations that would compromise Silas' already-high blood pressure.
Our family physician did not believe it would be a positive experience,
and we had to give up lest Silas have a stroke, and me a depressive
we successfully adopted, the child would have lost a father after a few
short years, less than a decade. Given Silas' health, adoption may
have been a selfish act, one that should not have occurred, and didn't.
would have been so easy to get pregnant by somebody in my twenties,
when I really wanted a child and was not on antidepressant medication
(it hadn't been discovered or developed at that time). It would have
been easy to lie to myself and pretend it was all right... so what if
I'm not mature enough for marriage? I can just have the baby and go on
welfare. But I could not breach that internal honesty, nor, after having
seen so many unloved children even in upper middle class settings as
well as the hospital and "school" where I had been held as an
adolescent, could I condemn a child to a lifelong emptiness of wondering
where and who Daddy was. Irresponsible pregnancy was a fantasy of a kid
in her twenties who wanted to prove herself a woman, having been told
most of her life she was a monster. How does a female rejected by
females prove herself female -- find that critical piece of identity?
found that having female and male friends and female therapists was the
best and most fulfilling answer, especially in the context of good work
in the theatre and in teaching. And a joyous marriage to a loving man
filled much of the emptiness that remained. Even with Silas' death, I
retain the more profound and positive valuing of myself, my bodily and
spiritual integrity and psychological welfare, that will hopefully
prevent sexually wasteful and futile acts which would dishonor my
husband's memory and the love we shared, will share forever.
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